I didn't know it but my small business is really pretty fragile. One reason is that there is only four of us. But there are other reasons too.
I generally prepare for every contingency I can think of. I keep extra printers on the shelf, extra ink, a separate laptop, netbook, and even an air card. Plus I keep extra boxes, tape, and every other conceivable supply that could stop our daily sales. I pay one of my guys extra to handle all incoming shipments. That frees up my time quite a bit.
The fragile part that I should have expected to come apart is the couple I hired to handle my shipping and my office clerical work. A married couple in their fifties. Neither doing too well heathwise. Both have had cancer. My shipping guys has a bad back and has had a heart problem in the past. My office lady can barely walk with a bad hip.
No problem though. It was a little charity on my part but surprisingly these guys performed well. I was very easy going too. I paid them both by the piece they produced so there was no stress for them. If they got tired they could just take a break. Which was pretty frequent. It's to be expected when disabled people are hired.
As time went on I became more attached and tried to help these two in small ways. I gave them a bunch of frozen chicken, cash cards, extra work, a small loan and I even did their taxes. Just things I could do at the time that they needed them. They worked for me for almost two years.
Sadly enought they just told me they are quitting and going back to Ohio. It was a shock. I was right in the middle of finding them an apartment. They amount to 50% or more of my workforce leaving all at once so whatever I can do to help them also helps me. After talking with them a bit I finally realized they are just tired and are going home. Health problems can sap your energy so badly.
I just hired a new guy and I will take over the office for the time being. I won't have as much free time, if I ever had it, as before. I will try and send my guys off this Friday and show them the appreciation they earned.
Hopefully my business will get stronger because of all this. Though I loved these guys I won't hire a husband and wife team again. Having half my workforce quit at once is just too much risk.